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How to Become Construction Project Manager?

19th Feb, 2024
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    How to Become Construction Project Manager?

    Construction project management dates back to 2500 BC. The pyramids of Giza, one of the most expensive construction projects on record, took around 100,000 laborers and 20 years to complete with the teams using an ancient version of the organization chart defining the roles of everyone in charge. Although the construction management and construction project managers were not like the modern version, but they were the forerunners and examples of construction excellency.  

    Construction project management and project managers’ demands are growing worldwide, where Canada, the USA, Australia, the UK, Dubai, and India are the construction hotspots. This article will discuss how to become a construction project manager and the skills required to be a construction project manager. Earn Project Management certification and increase your chances of getting a job in your dream company. 

    Who is a Construction Project Manager?

    Before getting into how to be construction project manager, it is essential to know who is a construction project manager and the duties. A construction project manager is a professional who oversees all phases of the building process, ensuring the project is completed on time and well within scope and budget. The role requires working closely with architects and engineers to develop construction plans, and establish timelines and calculate labor and material costs. 

    What does Construction Project Manager do?

    To become construction project manager means juggling various responsibilities, roles and situations. The duties of a construction project manager are: 

    1. Representing as the main source of coordinator for the client, raising and resolving queries throughout the project whenever and wherever required. 
    2. Overseeing the details related to obtaining various permits and design evaluations. 
    3. Managing, controlling and creating labor / workforce schedules for each project, as per the requirement of the project. 
    4. Collaborating with architects and construction crew to ensure the project’s progress. 
    5. Negotiating with vendors, suppliers and subcontractors. 
    6. Preparing and submitting project estimates to clients. 
    7. Analyzing and assessing risks, managing risks. 
    8. Developing and implementing quality control, ensuring all quality standards are maintained. 
    9. Selecting the required material, tools and equipment and tracking inventory. 
    10. Reviewing day-to-day work progress. 

    Who can be a Construction Project Manager?

    A construction project manager needs to do everything from planning and budgeting to organizing and overseeing the construction process. Typically, the person has an engineering or architectural background and many also come from other project management backgrounds, though there are no fixed criteria. Anyone can get into the profession with dedication and passion, mastering the skills; even without a formal degree or a professional certificate. We will discuss it in a while. 

    Required Skills to be a Construction Project Manager

    For the understanding of those who are into construction project management and wonder how to become project manager construction, it is a multi-faceted role demanding myriad skills. Usually, the most demanded skills are:  

    1. Technical Skills

    Technical skills are also called hard skills that describe all of the industry and role-specific knowledge and qualifications one needs are more quantifiable than soft skills and are usually obtained through hands-on experience, education, or both.  

    It includes: 

    • Planning and forecasting (making predictions and estimates based on actual facts and information)
    • Project management (people management, work management, risk management, time management, budgeting, tracking, monitoring )
    • Good understanding of standard building codes, understanding the various construction practices and techniques (like Agile, Waterfall)
    • Knowledge of technology and software in construction projects (like Wrike, Jira, JOBPROGRESS)
    • Writing and reporting
    • Research and scope management ( to stop projects from going out of control, causing problems with the budget, resources, and timeline).

    2. Workplace Skills

    Leadership Abilities 

    People management is an important aspect. Project managers are the project leaders and often the team leaders as well, being responsible for setting the vision for the team and ensuring everyone is on board and motivated to take the project successfully through each phase. They need to ensure that teams should be equipped with the tools, and other resources they need and adequate time too. 


    While planning is one of the core hard skills that project managers need to possess, the opposite soft skill that they must acquire is to remain adaptable. They cannot remain rigid with their plans and strategies that everything runs off the rails the moment something unanticipated happens. They must quickly bounce back and find ways to keep the project moving forward as changes are inevitable in construction projects. 

    Communication Skills 

    Half the time construction project managers communicate with people, internal or external. They communicate with team members, clients, government departments, banks, architects and agencies, vendors and workers. Their work will be almost impossible if they cannot communicate effectively with people at various levels. 

    Organizational Skills 

    Construction project managers are always dealing with resources, task dependencies and deadlines. To keep track of all the moving pieces of the project, project managers need to be exceptionally organized, otherwise, such multifunctional work cannot progress. 


    Negotiation skills go hand in hand with communication skills as construction project managers are always negotiating with some one or the other for pricing with clients, vendors and others, workers, team members. 

    Time Management 

    With numerous demands coming from all sides especially because they are the main point of contact, time management is extremely crucial. They need to manage their own time and the time of the key players to ensure timely completion of the entire project. 


    Construction project management is such a field where things often do not happen as expected as it involves various players both internal and external. Factors like situations, scenarios, government policies, political pressure, dealing with local bigwigs and plenty of other things. Patience with the flexibility to change is an important soft skill that plays a great role in construction project managers’ routine. 

    Risk Management 

    Risks and accidents are part and parcel of any construction project. Risks could arise from anything like chemicals or substances, electricity, height, any equipment going wrong, inattention, or any sudden change in price affecting the entire project, to name a few. Some risks could be anticipated and managed in advance but not all. Construction project managers must have adequate training in dealing with any kind of risk associated with construction activities.

    Construction Project Manager Skills

    Qualifications Required to Become a Construction Project Manager

    When it comes to how to become a construction project manager, it requires some qualifications to be developed depending on the level of the job and also the requirements of the company, and this might vary. Typically, the following are the requirements: 


    A minimum bachelor’s degree in a construction-related field like building science, civil engineering, construction management or architecture. A master’s degree could brighten career opportunities. For those with an associate degree in construction management or technology, combined with work experience, who want to know how do you become a project manager in construction, chances exist with small companies that are in the business of handling small-scale projects.  

    It will be better for those starting off in the field of construction management, wishing to become a construction manager first to get hired as an assistant. It may be treated as a training period to gain practical experience under the guidance of an experienced manager. However, the training period, depending on the client or the company working for, could vary from months to a few years as well. 


    A professional certification like PMP course is always advisable and increases competitiveness as certification validates to potential employers that the applicant possesses needed skills, especially legal compliance, risk management, contract administration, cost and quality management and more. 


    Apart from education, the construction manager has to have some qualities that help them through their career. People management and leadership qualities perhaps are one of the most important of them. In a single day, a manager will be required to talk to the laborers, resolve their issues, meet and talk to government officials and agencies, or meet some clients. Every set of people needs to be approached and managed differently and tactfully. This calls for effective communicative power, speaking the language the next person understands and with clarity. 

    Effective time management will be equally crucial as the project needs to meet the deadline. Getting tasks done from labor and on time is not easy. A manager needs to motivate them and others as well through tough times and help reduce disagreements and arguments. All these qualities represent the human side of project management. 

    Depending on the size of the project a construction project manager needs help from various tools like project management software. Hence awareness of the same is required. Construction projects often land into various problems which are quite common. A construction project manager, therefore, needs to be a good problem solver. Equally common is the risk management ability.  

    Hazards, risks, accidents are bound to happen in construction projects, especially large projects. Keeping one’s cool and dealing with such situations need a lot of patience, perseverance and tactics that a manager must have. Because come what may, finally the onus of timely deliverance of the project lies on a construction project manager. Many of such qualities need time to develop and the actual learning happens by experience. If anyone is interested in starting a career in construction project management, then the responsibility of developing these qualities will be on the aspirant.

    How to Become a Construction Project Manager Without Experience?

    It is not uncommon to find project managers in construction or even in other industries who manage teams successfully without experience (or even any formal degree). Those who wish to follow the same path and want to know how do I become a construction project manager even without any experience in the field, here are the how-to steps.  

    1. Assess your Existing Skills and Experience  

    Just because you have not worked in the construction management field or have different professional experience, it does not mean you lack the right skills. Therefore, those skills should never be written off ever. 

    Many key attributes that are required to be a successful construction project manager are transferable and are common to any project. For example, most workplace skills like communication, leadership, people management, time management, effective collaboration, negotiation, problem-solving, risk management, conflict management, resource management, stakeholder management, quality management etc. are common to almost all projects and you might already possess many of these. 

    2. Experience Assessment 

    To start with, don’t write off your own professional experience. Because you haven’t worked in the same role before, doesn’t mean you lack the right skills. You would be surprised to know many key attributes you need to be a successful project manager can be developed in many ways. You may already be well versed in skills, such as leadership and time management, from your previous jobs. 

    List out the projects you have already led or were a part of and compare the areas you have already gained experience to give you a sense of your hands-on experience versus the skills and job duties of a project manager. Next, evaluate the profiles, duties, and responsibilities of a construction project manager to get a clear understanding of the project management skills you know, and then move to the next step. 

    3. Gap Analysis 

    After learning the crucial construction project management skills required, determine the gaps in your portfolio. Identify your missing (but required) skills and make a comprehensive plan to learn them. The following questions may be helpful in the gap analysis process: 

    1. Which are the areas you need to build or refine your skills?  
    2. Is it possible to develop/refine these skills in your present role?  
    3. If not, then what would be your next move? 
    4. Would you need to take a new role to learn them and will your current company give you the opportunity?  
    5. With your existing role, will you be able to take on new or additional responsibilities without burning yourself out? If not, what do you need to do? 
    6. Is there any possibility of receiving mentorship in your current company or from your professional network?  

    4. Get yourself Qualified 

    Even if you get an opportunity to be guided by a mentor in your current organization who perhaps leaves no stone unturned in showing you how to become a building project manager, the safest and the best way is to get the right qualification and be guided by the industry experts by attending some programs and certifications. Whether you are new to the role or a pro, the PRINCE2 course will prove beneficial, where you will learn to build the project management skills to handle projects of various types, sizes, scales, and complexity across industries and geographies. 

    5. Start Working 

    The newly acquired skills, knowledge and concepts will only be useful once you start applying them in real life. Therefore, find opportunities that would enable you to apply what you have learned. The steps of how to go about this are: 

    1. Note the duties/responsibilities of the job postings of a construction project manager. 
    2. Highlight your skills and also the projects completed during your certification programs. 
    3. Explore the national and international reputed job portal sites and start applying. 
    4. Keep tracking the new project management software or the majorly demanded ones and continue learning. 
    5. Use the peer network of your certification programs (that you have attended) on how do you become a construction project manager, and share your resume with them. 

    6. Explore Other Options 

    If you cannot find any entry-level construction project manager positions, consider similar roles where you make a better fit. It will help you develop the important skills particular to construction management. You will also be able to work under an experienced manager and learn the nuances of the role. Also, you would grow and earn a promotion to a construction project manager position in a few years’ time because of your hard work.

    How to Become a Construction Project Manager Without a Degree?

    Most modern construction managers do have a degree in a related field, but there are many firms that hire managers without any such formal credentials. Such professionals replace formal education with practical construction experience. If you dream of becoming a construction manager without earning a degree, then be prepared to spend years or even decades gaining experience in the construction field. 

    Project managers oversee all facets of construction projects, finishing them on time and within budget, handling responsibilities like job site safety, compliance with local building norms, supply chain management, people management, and more. Aim to reach an expert level in several such areas. Furthermore, gain experience in plumbing, framing, masonry, or others. Be prepared and start accepting work or projects that expose you to new challenges and learning opportunities. 

    • Learn where the gaps in your project management knowledge area 
    • Build Construction project management experience 
    • Enhance your Construction project manager resume 
    • Learn everything you can about Construction project management 
    • Consider Construction project management Certifications. 

    Side by side, consider earning professional certifications to gain further knowledge (without the effort, expense and time investment for a degree). That will speed up your career progress with the credibility of being a professional in the field. Make sure to explore every learning opportunity and resource you can get your hands on. 

    Go for Construction Project Management Certifications

    Certified Construction Manager (CCM) 

    Certified Construction Manager (CCM) is a certification program accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI®) National Accreditation Board (ANAB) under the International Organization for Standardization’s 17024 standards. 

    Committed to excellence in construction management, CCMs bring professional services like effective management techniques to the planning, design, and construction of a project or program from inception to completion by controlling, cost, and quality. 

    The purpose of CCM certification is to improve delivery by identifying the best construction managers, qualified by education and experience to deliver professional construction management services with the highest quality and ethical conduct. The following are the application requirements for a CCM through CMCI: 

    @A 4-year degree with 48 months of (responsible-in-charge) experience. 


    @A 2-year degree with 48 months of (responsible-in-charge) experience. 


    @8 years of field experience with 48 months of (responsible-in-charge) experience.

    How to Apply for a CCM Certificate? 

    1. Apply online or by mail at cmaanet.org.
    2. Include a professional resume, copies of educational documents, and references from at least two clients, supervisors, or current CCMs. Additional documentation will be required if, instead of the educational requirements, a candidate’s experience proof alone is given.
    3. Pay the fee. 
    4. Wait for approval by the CMCI Board of Governors.

     Approved applicants will be informed by email and allowed to take the CCM exam. 

    Certified Commercial Building Inspector 

    Who is a Certified Commercial Building Inspector? 

    A certified commercial building inspector is a professional responsible for conducting structural audits of existing and new buildings to ensure they are stable and have the necessary safety provisions. Buildings follow the compliance and issue occupancy certifications once the quality of construction or the repairs are met. Get certification and hands-on technical training for a construction project manager on ccpia.org.

    Top Cities Where KnowledgeHut Conduct Project Management Certification Training Course Online

    Project Management Courses in LondonProject Management Courses in Singapore
    Project Management Courses in MelbourneProject Management Courses in Toronto
    Project Management Courses in SydneyProject Management Courses in Perth
    Project Management Courses in BangaloreProject Management Courses in Dubai
    Project Management Courses in MumbaiProject Management Courses in Brisbane

    How to Become a Certified Construction Project Manager?

    The steps to become a certified construction project manager are as follows: 


    Typically, a construction-related bachelor’s degree is required like civil engineering, construction engineering (that covers the basic civil engineering and construction management courses), architecture etc.  

     A master’s degree in construction management will be suitable for seeking further and faster career advancement. Those who have completed graduation could also focus on practical applications of construction management principles, for example, labor relations, safety and public policy etc. Courses on subjects like materials, building design and economics can be availed by undergraduate students to get into this sector. 

    Gain Construction Experience

    Construction project management requires previous construction experience, which can be obtained from internships, apprenticeships or management assistance that provides real-life training and knowledge of construction site operations. 

    Get (and Maintain) Qualification in Construction Project Manager

    Obtaining a Certified Construction Manager (CCM) certification is immensely beneficial for becoming a construction project manager. 

    Master Project Management Tools/Software

    Construction projects and their management include many smaller deliverables and sub-projects. A construction project manager needs to track all of these to meet the promised deadlines, fulfill the budget target and timeline, manage risks, follow compliances etc.  

    All these require a collaborative environment that aligns various teams to a common goal, simplifies communication and coordination. Hence use of project management tools/software becomes imperative, especially for large projects. Some of the best construction project management tools/software are: 

    • monday.com 
    • Smartsheet 
    • Fieldwire 
    • Procore 
    • Autodesk Build 
    • Houzz Pro 
    • RedTeam 
    • Buildertrend 
    • CoConstruct 

    Prepare your Resume

    A resume is the sales document of an applicant and needs to be prepared with the highest care. All the relevant education and certification must be mentioned along with work history and projects handled. A professional certification increases credibility manyfold.

    Apply to Roles that Matches Your Qualification and Skills

    The application should be made to vacancies that an applicant is qualified for or has experience in. Draft an appropriate cover letter highlighting the matching skills and qualities to enable the hiring manager (who will mostly be from the Human Resources department of the hiring company) to understand the suitability of the applicant for the vacancy. 

    Unlock your potential with our advanced online csm course. Acquire the skills and expertise to thrive in the dynamic field of project management. Enroll today!

    Books and Study Material to Become Construction Manager

    Keeping oneself updated and knowledge-fortified is the key to success in any career, including construction management. Below is a list of ten must-read construction management books: 

    1. Building Construction: Project Management, Construction Administration, Drawings, Specs, Detailing Tips, Schedules, Checklists and Secrets Others Donʹt Tell You by Gang Chen 
    2. The First-Time Manager 6th Edition by Loren B. Belker, Jim McCormick, Gary S. Topchick 
    3. Construction Business Management: What Every Construction Contractor, Builder & Subcontractor Needs to Know by Nick B. Ganaway 
    4. Introduction to Construction Management by Fred Sherratt 
    5. Construction Project Management: A Complete Introduction by Alison Dykstra 
    6. Construction Management JumpStart by Barbara J. Jackson 
    7. Modern Construction Management by Frank Harris and Ronald McCaffer 
    8. Running a Successful Construction Company by David Gerstel 
    9. Successful Construction Project Management: The Practical Guide by Paul Netscher 
    10. Construction Project Manager’s Pocket Book by Duncan Cartlidge

    Pros of Becoming a Construction Project Manager

    1. Diverse Workday

    One thing is sure, with new situations and challenges to meet every day, this field is ideal for those who dislike monotonous daily work, where each day is the same as the previous one. Being responsible for a multi-faceted role, a construction manager enjoys a lot of variety at the workplace like meeting clients, assessing safety protocols, managing the workforce, managing vendors, budgeting, hiring contractors and plenty of other responsibilities to handle. 

    2. Flexibility Work Schedule

    The variety of roles a construction manager needs to perform makes it imperative to have a flexible work schedule instead of fixed work time. The managers can control their work schedule to a large extent and may be able to choose the days and hours they work and conduct many of their duties independently instead of typical office work and reporting. 

    3. Good Job Prospects and Security

    Demand for construction managers remains throughout the world, as we pointed out at the onset of this article. This also gives a chance to get a relocation chance to a different state or even a country. Companies also prefer to retain an existing efficient construction project manager who has already developed a rapport with various internal and external partners, including government agencies. 

    4. Career Advancement and Package Hike

    Those who continue their education, research, study and training get a chance for faster promotion, developing various skills continuously and even a salary hike by joining a better-paying company. 

    Cons of Becoming a Construction Project Manager

    1. High-risk Career

    Construction sites are always risky. Even after maintaining and following all the safety protocols and measures, accidents do happen often. A construction manager’s work needs outside work, supervision of the workers and plenty of other duties, making one subject to changing and harsh weather conditions.  

    Apart from this, exposure to electricity, hazardous chemicals and materials, heat, dust, damp also may take a toll on the health of a construction manager. 

    2. Physically Laborious and Prolonged Work

    A construction manager often needs to work for long hours, often late in the evenings or on the weekends, spending long hours working on-site where proper food, drinking water and transport facilities may not be available readily. 

    The work could be physically demanding as well, often requiring lifting heavy loads or items. Often without a fixed time for taking food. Certainly, this career is not a realistic one for those with fragile health or limited mobility. As a project nears its due date, work hours could prolong. 

    3. Stressful Work

    A construction manager must handle task delegation, labor management, people management, client management, and dealing with various external and government agencies. All these make the work of construction work stressful, especially as the project nears closure. 

    4. Time-consuming Field

    The construction manager position requires a lot of experience and education as well making the career path time-consuming and challenging. For example, the CCM certification needs a lot of criteria to be fulfilled including fixed study and work experience. In short, the career demands a lot of patience, perseverance, time and hard work. 

    Project Management Courses to Fill Skills Gaps

    You can learn more about project management including construction project management by taking online classes where, apart from the fundamentals, you will also learn how to get things done correctly and the right ways to monitor a project. KnowledgeHut, an industry leader in delivering the best project management online courses, has a range of programs for your project management learning. The curricula are based on experiential workshops, mentorship, and on-demand courseware to help you get a competitive edge and a successful career as a project manager. Check the certifications below:

    1. Project Management Certification 
    2. PMP Course 
    3. PRINCE2 Course 
    4. KnowledgeHut Project Management Certification
    5. Certificate in Construction Project Management

    This course will be suitable for anyone who needs an in-depth understanding of managing a construction project or working in the construction project management field and wants to gain core knowledge and skills required in the industry.  

    The seven-month course covers planning, organizing and controlling construction operations and undertaking initial feasibility studies through to design, construction, maintenance, refurbishment and demolition. In short, it is meant to give a participant an all-rounded view of construction project management and the essential skills required for managing a construction project.   


    In this comprehensive article on how to become a construction project manager, we have tried to cover everything we could to answer the question. Hope this will benefit everyone seeking employment in the construction management field anywhere across the globe, both with or without a formal degree, with or without any relevant experience in the field. Go for KnowledgeHut Project Management certification to learn and understand project management.

     Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. What degree do you need to be a construction project manager

    A bachelor's degree in construction management or a similar field such as architecture, engineering, or construction science. 

    2. Is it easy to become a construction project manager

    One needs to acquire the relevant education, skill, professional know-how and, above all, years of experience in the construction field. 

    3. How long does it take to become a construction project manager

    Considering a four-year degree education, a minimum of three years of full-time work experience, plus required project management education, around seven to eight years. If the education time is not included, it could take around four to five years. 

    4. What is the salary of a construction project manager

    As per PayScale, construction project managers earn an average of $74,923 per year.  

    5. Can anybody be a construction project manager

    It depends on the interest, dedication and effort one is willing to put in. It is not uncommon for people without relevant experience in the construction sector or even without a degree to become construction project manager. 

    6. How fast can I become a construction project manager

    Construction projection manager is a multi-functional, demanding role, and it needs years of experience. One should at least be prepared to invest a minimum of five years (excluding academic study, including work experience and doing relevant upskill courses ) to become a good construction project manager.


    Kevin D.Davis

    Blog Author

    Kevin D. Davis is a seasoned and results-driven Program/Project Management Professional with a Master's Certificate in Advanced Project Management. With expertise in leading multi-million dollar projects, strategic planning, and sales operations, Kevin excels in maximizing solutions and building business cases. He possesses a deep understanding of methodologies such as PMBOK, Lean Six Sigma, and TQM to achieve business/technology alignment. With over 100 instructional training sessions and extensive experience as a PMP Exam Prep Instructor at KnowledgeHut, Kevin has a proven track record in project management training and consulting. His expertise has helped in driving successful project outcomes and fostering organizational growth.

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